Axel Merckx is a world-renowned Belgian cycling champion who retired to British Columbia, Canada, in 2007. Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx. Although proud of his father’s exploits, Axel has himself enjoyed a superb racing career, including winning an Olympic medal in 2004. Axel began his professional cycling career in 1993 as a member of Team Motorola. Most recently, Axel has become synonymous with the success of the Bontager Cycling Team, as the squad’s director.
Axel married Canadian triathlete Jodi Cross in 1997, and upon his retirement from racing moved with his family to Kelowna, British Columbia.
Winner of the 2000 Belgian National Championship, he has participated in 10 Tour de France races, finishing as the highest-placed Belgian rider six times. Axel’s other accomplishments include winning stages in the Giro d’Italia and Dauphine Libere. He has also won the GP Sanson, the Tour de la Region Wallone, the Grand Prix de Wallonie, and the Tour de l’Ain.
As a member of the Belgian cycling contingent, Axel participated at the 2004 Olympics held in Athens, where he captured a bronze medal. In a race that featured numerous break away attempts, it wasn’t until Paolo Bettini of Italy and Sérgio Paulinho of Portugal broke away late in the race that Axel saw his chance to earn a spot on the podium. With the peloton giving up the chase of the leaders, Axel jumped off the front of the group, earned the bronze medal and finished only 8 seconds behind Bettini, the gold medal winner.
These days, Axel can be found at the helm of the Bontager Cycling Team. As its director, Axel has played a key role in grooming riders for the Pro Tour peloton. His most notable successes include RadioShack’s Ben King, Sam Bewley and Jesse Sergent, Team Sky’s Alex Dowsett and BMC’s Taylor Phinney.